Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"Hey Cincinnati": Catching Up With Card Club on Lord Admiral Radio

'Cincinnati' Sean & Brent Stacks, hosts of Card Club on Lord Admiral RadioWhen somebody finally gets around to creating an entry for “Poker Podcasts” over on Wikipedia, Card Club on Lord Admiral Radio will no doubt rate mention as the first long-running podcast devoted to poker. In all, the Admirals produced 84 full episodes (plus a few “golden nuggets” here and there), giving us a new show on an almost weekly basis from November 2004 to August 2006.

Card Club started as a means to chronicle the activities of the Admirals’ poker club (located in Toronto), but soon evolved into a larger virtual “card club” that included listeners, bloggers, reporters, and even a couple of pros. Dr. Pauly (Tao of Poker, Poker News) called in reports to the show during the 2005 WSOP. Poker pro and author Bob Ciaffone once appeared as a guest. And Card Club was the first home of Columbo’s terrific One Minute Mysteries (now relocated to Ante Up!). I wrote a post last September shortly after they signed off -- check it out for more about the show.

Found myself wondering how the Admirals had been doing now that six months had passed since the last show. I figured others might be interested, too, so I sent co-host “Cincinnati” Sean an email asking if he’d give us all an update. He agreed, so I sent Sean a few questions . . .

* * * * *

Short-Stacked Shamus: Card Club on Lord Admiral Radio signed off last August. What have you, Stacks, and the rest of the Lord Admirals been up to since then?

Cincinnati Sean: It doesn’t seem that long since we were doing the show but I suppose lots has happened. Stacks has been to Vegas twice (including a bachelor party) and still hasn’t won big. Headhunter Mark went Scuba diving in the far east and made an effort to go to Macau (the Las Vegas of the east). Our club WPT-generation-punk, Jimmy Q, was also in Vegas and managed a killing in the no limit tables. (He won so much he was taking limos out to buy tonic for his booze.) Mostly, though, we are trying to keep our regular games going. With Scott the Voice, Evan the Terrible, Greg the Professor, Al Dante, and Mrs. Cincinnati and I all becoming first-time parents in the last two years, our priorities have temporarily turned to understanding who the Wiggles are and why everyone can suddenly see Snuffy.

SSS: When Card Club first started out in late 2004, the landscape of poker podcasting was relatively unpopulated. Today there are a number of regularly-produced podcasts, including an entire Internet radio network devoted to poker (Hold 'em Radio). Do you follow any of the current poker podcasts? If so, which ones do you like, and why?

CS: I am on a poker hiatus -- which I have done every few years since I first read Brunson in 1995. I don’t enjoy the game unless I can constantly study and reread. I am just not talented enough to focus on only playing and win consistently. As a result of this hiatus, I have temporarily stopped reading blogs and listening to podcasts. My subway time (usually my podcast time) is right now being spent watching American Civil War lectures on my phone. I kid you not.

SSS: What advice would you give to someone contemplating starting his or her own podcast?

CS: You have to know why you are doing it and set your goals accordingly. You can’t have a podcast that offers advice if you are a losing player. Understand your goals and work towards them every show. We defined success as being able to do a (mostly) weekly show about what we were talking about day to day. The plan was to share it with anyone who wanted to participate in the discussion. We thought we’d get 5 listeners each week and we were OK with that. We knew we exceeded our expectations when we my ISP started shutting down my network traffic.

Success criteria for podcasts are no different than blogs, hobbies, or poker itself. Understand what you want to get out of it before you start. Set your goals and then you have a direction to work from every week.

SSS: If Card Club had not gone off the air last August and you had still been producing shows these last six months, what might you and Stacks be saying about the passage of the UIGEA and its aftermath?

CS: Being Canadian we’d recognize we are out of our turf. None of us are affiliates and all of our accounts are still open and available for playing. Apart from taking a few more minutes for a SnG and fewer tables to choose from, the impact to us is negligible. It is a shame the country that gave this great game to the world is not letting its citizens play.

The Lord Admiral Club's specially-designed poker chipsSSS: Do you still play online?

CS: In theory, yes. In practice, no. My accounts are still there and I plan to play, but until I get more free time I am spending what free time I have on other things. Baseball season is starting and I am excited about that. Dr. Pauly and I have been known to exchange barbs during the season so I expect that will continue.

This makes the prospect of the planned spring special podcast an interesting one. The other guys will have to do most of the talking (not hard for Stacks).

SSS: Card Club frequently brought attention to poker blogs -- both to particular blogs & to the significance of poker blogging, generally speaking. Are you still following any blogs? What role do you see poker blogs playing here in the currently litigious landscape of poker?

CS: This question is for someone way smarter than I am. My poker blog reading is on hiatus -- although I have been known to check in on the Lord Admiral Canon once in a while (the Poker Prof., Iggy, Pauly, Columbo, Gracie, etc). I think the future of poker blogging has the most potential of all sport/game blogging. I say that because Poker still has a lot of dark secrets and blogs are the only way to know what is really going on.

SSS: Any new poker books on your shelf?

CS: I have a bunch I need to get to. Friends and family know I collect poker books (of any quality) so they have an easy idea if they are getting me a gift. I still haven’t been through Miller's No Limit (shame -- my first read when I dive back in). I have Annie Duke’s sitting waiting for a read and a few others. I reread poker books more than any other and I am due to go through all of my collection when I dust off in a year or so.

SSS: Looking back, how would you characterize the experience of producing a poker podcast on a nearly weekly basis for over a year-and-a-half?

CS: It was a hoot. We had no broad/podcast experience (despite Brent’s role as a network exec he was no help), no poker credibility, and no reason anyone should listen. Throughout the 20 months or so we grew with our listeners. Listeners sent feedback on things from sound quality to hand critiques. They started blogs and talked about the show. It was like we were all learning and experimenting together. If I discovered podcasting today and saw what was out there I might not have had the courage to even try to get one off the ground (which would be a mistake -- everyone who wants to should try). Luckily we were one of the first thousand or so podcasts in the history of the medium and so we didn’t know better. Podcasting exploded around us and so we rode the wave.

The key for us was having one of the “legitimate” blogs become a fan early. The Poker Prof. at sent me a message and we talked on the phone for an hour. Next thing I knew he was pimping us on his site and more and more people were giving us a shot.

Oh yeah, and our wives didn’t leave us for playing radio for an hour or two every week. That helped.

Sean violating the 'one player to a hand' ruleSSS: Does the Cincinnati kid know how to calculate pot odds yet?

CS: The over/under on his age when he first finishes higher than me in a SnG is 6 years and 5 months. Take the under.

* * * * *

Big thanks to Sean for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully to these questions. I know we’re all glad to hear the Admirals and their families are doing well. We’ll all be keeping an eye out for that special spring show (over on the Card Club website or via the RSS feed, both of which remain up).



Blogger Irongirl01 said...

Just came across your blog thru Haleys (which I found thru Iggy's or Lou Krieger's) and I must say great stuff here.

Im adding you to my must reads.

Thanks for the recap on Admirals. I remember when they signed off and I had just discovered them.

3/08/2007 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss those guys :(

3/08/2007 9:35 AM  
Blogger PokerProf said...

Me too

3/08/2007 12:10 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Me three. Hey, thanks irongirl!

3/09/2007 1:54 PM  
Blogger Blazman said...

thanks for this Shamus... I miss those guys..

3/23/2007 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for the update on the Lord Admiral boys. I miss them more than when ST:TNG went off the air!

3/24/2007 12:50 PM  

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